Going to Iraq

posted at 11:10 am on January 3, 2007 by Michelle

Cross-posted at MM.com

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Paging Kathleen Carroll

My blogging has been lighter than usual the past few weeks due to family time, Fox News duties, holiday chaos, holiday illness–and, yes, planning for a trip to Iraq. As you know, ex-CNN newsman Eason Jordan extended an invitation to me three weeks ago to go to Iraq to investigate the Associated Press/”Jamil Hussein” story. He offered to pay for a trip. As you’ll recall, I asked if he would offer to cover travel and security costs for Curt from Flopping Aces–who broke open the story of AP’s dubious sources on Thanksgiving weekend and continues to lead the blogospheric search for the truth. Jordan agreed.

I spoke with Jordan by phone before Christmas to learn more details of his offer, which I’m not going to get into for privacy and security reasons. (He asked that his discussion be off the record.) I let him know that I had received invitations to embed with the military and planned to follow up on some of these offers concurrently with the investigation of the AP’s reporting. Since our conversation, things have moved at a fast pace on the embed side. Over the holidays, my Hot Air colleague Bryan Preston and I received word that our embed applications had been approved. We have been busy preparing our families and ourselves for the journey. Our overarching goals are two-fold:

1) to report on how the troops perceive mainstream media coverage of the war (with a particular focus on the wire services relying on local stringers); and

2) to report on progress and interaction between U.S. troops and Iraqi Army trainees.

The “Jamil Hussein” story is one important item on our agenda, but not the only one. As Curt and other bloggers on this story have noted from the beginning, Jamilgate isn’t just about “Jamil Hussein.” Bryan and I plan to do as much on-the-ground reporting as we can to nail down unresolved questions–not only about Jamil Hussein and the Hurriya six burning Sunnis allegations, but also about the AP four burning mosque story discrepancies and the many other AP sources that our military has publicly challenged–including “Lt. Maitham Abdul Razzaq” and more than a dozen police officers listed by U.S. military spokesman Navy Lt. Michael Dean. There’s also the issue of detained AP photographer Bilal Hussein. And we are looking forward to reporting first-hand on the security situation in Iraq outside the so-called “Green Zone” (International Zone) and talking to as many American and Iraqi Army troops with insights on these and other broader matters.

I am very heartened by Eason Jordan’s post yesterday challenging the Associated Press’s credibility, but am puzzled that his own crew in Baghdad still has nothing new to report more than a month after bloggers first started raising questions. I hope Jordan follows up on the most recent investigative developments in the blogosphere. As of Dec. 21, the AP refuses to answer these simple questions:

1. Is Jamil Ghdaab Gulaim the real name of your oft-cited source, “Captain Jamil Hussein” aka ” Jamil Gholaiem Hussein?”

2. If not, where is “Captain Jamil Hussein” currently working? If he is a Baghdad police officer, as AP asserts, why hasn’t anyone — not CPATT, not MOI, not Marc Danzinger’s sources [nor Eason Jordan’s] — been able to locate him?

3. What is your response to the CPATT officers’ report that Jamil Ghdaab Gulaim denies being AP’s source?

The reply from Linda Wagner, AP media relations officer, you’ll recall, was this:

Michelle-

I have no additional information for you at this time.

Linda

The reply from AP exec editor Kathleen Carroll…well, there was none.

Jordan has called on the AP to “to appoint an independent panel to determine the facts about the disputed report, to determine whether Iraqi Police Captain Jamil Hussein exists, and to share the panel’s full findings and recommendations with the public.”

I support that call. But I have decided not to wait on the AP or depend on Eason Jordan for answers and accountability. Bryan and I will be heading out to Iraq very shortly as embeds to advance the story and get first-hand the side of the story the AP refuses to hear–the side of the troops on the ground. (It is an expensive trip. If you’d like to pitch in, we’d greatly appreciate any help. PayPal button below.) You’ll start hearing from us soon. Stay tuned here and at HotAir.com. I’ll also be filing dispatches for the New York Post, which provided us with media accreditation.

I have notified Jordan of our plans and encouraged him to move forward with his trip and his offer to bring Curt of Flopping Aces.

More importantly, I have asked Jordan to extend the travel funds and security coverage he would have spent on me to the AP’s Kathleen Carroll.

Ms. Carroll, you may remember, was the AP executive who derided bloggers for sitting at home instead of traveling abroad to do their own reporting during the fauxtography debacle last summer:

“It’s hard to imagine how someone sitting in an air-conditioned office or broadcast studio many thousands of miles from the scene can decide what occurred on the ground with any degree of accuracy,” said Kathleen Carroll, AP’s senior vice president and executive editor.

Yet, from her own comfortable office, Ms. Carroll has decided that bloggers, Jordan, the U.S. military, and Iraqi government officials are all wrong to question her news organization’s questionable news sources:

Kathleen Carroll, AP executive editor, told E&P today that she had not read Jordan’s latest item, posted Monday, and likely would not. But she stood by the news organization’s previous statements backing the existence of an Iraqi police captain, Jamail (sic) Hussein.

“I’ve been pretty public about what we have done to get to the crux of the criticism we have gotten about it,” she added. When asked about critics’ demands that AP produce Hussein to prove his existence, she said “that area [where he works] has pretty much been ethnically cleansed, it is a nasty place and continues to be.”

It is unfortunate that this neighborhood has been reportedly rife with sectarian violence, but that doesn’t change the fact that there is no police captain named “Jamil Hussein” working now or ever in either Yarmouk or al Khadra, according to on-the-ground sources in Baghdad (see here and here).

Ms. Carroll, why not leave your “air-conditioned office…thousands of miles from the scene” and find out for yourself if “Jamil Hussein” is who AP says he is? Or is it the “do as I say” standard for bloggers and “not as I do” for MSM news executives in their high-rise offices in Manhattan?

***

Donations to defray the costs of our trip to Iraq are gratefully accepted. Checks can be sent to Hot Air Network LLC, 554 N. Frederick Ave., #115, Gaithersburg, MD 20877. Credit card and PayPal payments can be made by clicking the button below:












***

Fresh commentary and reporting elsewhere in the ‘sphere:

Flopping Aces: “Eason Jordan Urging AP To Investigate”
Confederate Yankee: Gone in 60 Stories: The Grunt Work
Confederate Yankee: Gone in 60 Stories
Richard Miniter: Jamil Hussein and Confedeate Yankee
Ace of Spades: Cool Facts About Police Captain Jamil Hussein
Ace of Spades: “Katty Carroll To Critics: Drop Dead”
Patterico: Does the AP have a “scandal” on its hands?
Video at Hot Air: Brit Hume covers Jamilgate
Allah on Eason
Bruce Kesler: AP & Eason Jordan & MSM Self-Responsibility
Armed Liberal: It’s just a scratch

Related: Embedded blogger Bill Ardolino’s very interesting interview with a “Sunni Iraqi journalist” named “Quais Abdul Raazzaq.” Part two here. Ardolino files from Fallujah here, where he reports “morale seems high.”

Previous:

The AP (non-)responds and another search comes up empty
Tracing “Jamil Hussein’s” footsteps and ignoring anti-blog hatred
What’s so funny about going to Iraq? Plus: More questions for AP
Looking for Jamil Hussein: Accepting Eason Jordan’s invitation
Eason Jordan is back
AP: Still not off the hook; Plus: The Question
Free Jamil Hussein
Questioning a NYTimes reporter; challenging CBS News & ASNE

The alleged war atrocity that the NYTimes can’t substantiate
Rumors and reporting in Iraq
Burning Sunnis, burning mosques, burning questions
Burning Six update: The AP responds (to USA Today); update: and now, a new AP account
Real news vs. fake news in Iraq
The media fog of war
The Associated (with terrorists) Press strikes again
Bilal Hussein’s congresswoman
AP runs to the Washington Post
AP stands for Advocacy Press
AP vs. the “so-called blogosphere”
Associated Press and the Bilal Hussein case
Where is Bilal Hussein?


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Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

Michelle and Bryan…stay safe and stay focused….

I really look forward to your reports….please give our troops a big hug from all of us who read and comment on Hot Air……listen to the E4’s, E5’s and E6’s…they will let you know if an area is safe to be in…..godspeed!

robo on January 3, 2007 at 6:51 PM

It might be easier to find him if you read his blog:

Captain Jamil Hussein Blog | Yes I am Existing

It’s pretty funny, but obviously fake. Or is it?

Best of luck and stay safe.

mesablue on January 3, 2007 at 6:52 PM

Another donation on the way.
Good luck, stay safe and give our loving appreciation to the troops :)

Laura02420 on January 3, 2007 at 6:59 PM

Michelle, Bryan,

May God walk between you and all the dark places you must travel. My prayers and support are with you. I wish I could go with you, really.

We all look forward to your safe return and remember, relax, inhale, exhale a little, squeeze the trigger. Let the round surprise you.

Godspeed and please communicate often so we can rest a little while you are away!

Zorro on January 3, 2007 at 7:02 PM

Good luck on your trip, and be sure to report back as soon as you learn anything.

Eric12470210 on January 3, 2007 at 7:16 PM

Michelle and Bryan,

You have my prayers for your trip. I don’t believe in luck, I trust in the Lord, and right behind Him, in the U.S. military to keep you safe.

I’m sure you both know it, but I say it anyway. What you are doing is incredibly important, not only for us who will get to read/see/hear what you bring back, but for the troops in the Suck. You will surely raise their morale, but my bet is that they will raise yours more.

A tip. Take all the HotAir promo gear you can pack along. It’ll sell in one day, guaranteed.

Freelancer on January 3, 2007 at 7:39 PM

Bryan! Make certain that you get photos/video of Michelle eating in the mess-halls. I can’t wait to compare photos.

1) John Kerry eating at the mess hall in Iraq.
2) Michelle Malkin eating at the mess hall in Iraq.

That was my first thought as well, CC. Good thing I read through.

Freelancer on January 3, 2007 at 7:43 PM

Stay safe.

EnochCain on January 3, 2007 at 7:52 PM

Michelle,

Lenni igazi gondos között valószínű beöntés. Marad biztos , és talál mi mi minden van látszó részére – a igazság

( be careful, find the truth, etc )

Janos Hunyadi on January 3, 2007 at 7:57 PM

Good luck & God bless.

Stop in at Ramadi and say ‘HI’ to my daughter.

She’s the ‘snarling-tough-as-nails’ blonde girl manning (womanning?) a spitfire 60 cal. mounted on a humvee.

Her name is Holly.

locomotivebreath1901 on January 3, 2007 at 9:20 PM

Be safe. Prayers are with you.

windbag on January 3, 2007 at 9:30 PM

If you get up to Kirkuk and the 25th ID, I hope you see my older son.

Phil Byler on January 3, 2007 at 9:38 PM

How much money do we need to raise to have you take Cindy Sheehag with you? (one way)

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on January 3, 2007 at 10:13 PM

Thank you for your dedication and “gum”balls!! STAY SAFE!!

ChrisIansNana on January 3, 2007 at 10:24 PM

Michelle & Co. your tireless dedication to hold the media accountable and thus reduce the amount of propaganda unknowingly consumed by the world will help us prevail in the end. You all are brave soldiers in the media war – a significant front which can’t be overstated. I’m sure you all are up to the task. God bless & keep you.

Buck Turgidson on January 3, 2007 at 11:47 PM

Michelle, hug the guys for me!

Bryan, kiss the ladies on the cheecks!

You both know what to tell them. It’s so emotional – they do so much and ask for so little. Not even that is granted to them by so many.

We’ll travel with you, in spirit. We’ll savour every word, every report, every byte and every pixel.

Thank you,

Entelechy on January 4, 2007 at 12:57 AM

God speed and good luck. Say thanks from all of us, we here at HA not only support the troops but support their mission and want us to win. Say hi to all our brothers and sisters and tell them they are loved, respected, admired, and prayed for every night of every day. It is because of these brave individuals and their endless acts of courage and compassion that folks like us can fritter away our time blogging our minds out. Again, God speed and good luck…….

ritethinker on January 4, 2007 at 2:19 AM

Wow. You do have guts Michelle. You walk-the-walk as they say. That being said, I don’t see a scenario where I’d want my wife going over there, but I trust you’ll be in good hands.

God bless you and your family and take care of yourself!

Malpaso on January 4, 2007 at 9:35 AM

Ma’am,
Thanks for coming and for doing what you do. When you get here, get up north to Tal Afar and I’ll make sure to give you the best blackhawk flight ever.

Aloha

kepeflies on January 4, 2007 at 9:58 AM

Truly inspiring.

ITmonkey on January 4, 2007 at 10:01 AM

Have a Great Trip Michelle and Bryan and be safe.

In my opinion there will be two enemies in Iraq in your trip: Insurgents, and radical members of the Left and MSM. Perhaps you will be suspicious of those with a political agenda that is in direct conflict with your own – regardless fo which “side” they appear to be on.

It would be very nice, great, good, highly desirable, and generally a good service if Hot Air had clips of all video and reporting of Michelle and Bryan in their trip.

Good Luck and Godspeed Michelle and Bryan!

omegaram on January 4, 2007 at 12:17 PM

Michelle, buy a bongo truck while you’re out there.

That sentence will make sense when you get there. Trust me.

Ringmaster on January 4, 2007 at 12:30 PM

ALL YOUR ADVENTURES ARE BELONG TO US —GO WITH GOD/SUFFER NO HARM

PAPA BEAR on January 4, 2007 at 3:57 PM

Wow, yet again a true conservative shows the world how much our side of the political spectrum loves our Troops! Rush in Afghanistan, Laura, Sean, Bill O and now Michelle in Iraq!

I hope a lot of the guys and girls over there are turned on to HotAir after this trip so that they can check in from time to time and see how much we respect and admire them!

Bless you all HotAir Troops and HotAir Military Families!

Michelle and Bryan, thank you for representing us over there, they need our love and support!

Tony737 on January 4, 2007 at 4:12 PM

In the words of the great Camarillo Eddie “Hold on to your hats and wear clean underwear!”

Drtuddle on January 4, 2007 at 4:30 PM

Everyone here already beat me to it but know that there are many many more who share the same sentiments and will be praying for you. Be safe and God bless you guys. Thank you to you and give our best to the troops.

RobertCSampson on January 4, 2007 at 5:25 PM

Echoing everyone else, Michelle.. Godspeed and come home safely, but PLEASE get the true story from the troops. I’m going to write Fox News (and others should, too) and tell them they need to give YOU a Saturday or Sunday night 1-hour special to talk about and show video (if you can) chronicling your trip with Eason Jordan. And, knowing you, I know you’ll show plenty of troops in THEIR own words – something only Fox news seems to know how to do.

MsUnderestimated on January 4, 2007 at 8:33 PM

Michelle/Bryan

As everyone else has said and the most important thing…

Godspeed and come home safe.

However

If you can, take some time off to have a little fun as well. If you are able, arrange for an incentive ride on a fighter.

How cool would it to see Michelle/Bryan doing barrel rolls and going MACH+ across the AOR.

Plus it would be a good reason to talk to the NAVY and AF personal in the area.

I expect the Air Force has already built a golf course in the area as well, so don’t forget your clubs.

F15Mech on January 4, 2007 at 10:10 PM

Good luck, and Godspeed.

Here’s a theory about Jamil Hussein:

(1) Iraqi police get questioned about him;
(2) Iraqi police say, “he doesn’t exist”;
(3) AP says, “yes he does, so there”;
(4) Iraqi police find an officer with a name that
is pretty close;
(5) Iraqi police don’t know if Pretty Close Officer is
the same one, but …
(6) To send a message that no officer should talk to
media,
(7) Iraqi police issue a warrant for Pretty Close Officer
just in case

Look at it this way: the ONLY evidence that the Iraqis have that Jamil Whoever talked to AP is (a) that the AP makes the claim and (b) they found someone with a similar name. It’s not as if anyone has admitted to it, or that they did a real investigation. All the Iraqis said was, yep, someone here does have a name pretty close to that.

Watergate on January 5, 2007 at 1:26 AM

Here’s another theory:

Lazy AP Stringer hears that Jamil Hussein works at the local police station. Lazy AP Stringer gathers rumors and innuendo and sells them to the AP as coming from the real Jamil Hussein, who wouldn’t be able to pick Lazy AP Stringer out of a crowd of two.

Sort of like the Woodward interview with Casey. The fact that Casey really existed, didn’t mean that the interview really happened.

Watergate on January 5, 2007 at 1:31 AM

It would be the end of the world as I know it if Hotair lost it’s boss, so BE SAFE!!!!

Aylios on January 5, 2007 at 4:34 AM

Jamil Hussien has been found.

Sarah D. on January 5, 2007 at 5:16 AM

You know, and all sarcasm aside, I don’t think it would be legal for them to be “packing”. They will be after all, foreigners on foreign soil. I don’t think it’s legal for just anyone to be carrying a firearm in the States either. At least, I hope it isn’t.

So sad. And which part of the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed don’t you get? The real problem is that government ignores that right, and believes it can restrict us from observing it.

Freelancer on January 9, 2007 at 4:02 PM

Comment pages: 1 2